Learning to Pray in the Spirit and the Word, Part 2

But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, 18 that they were saying to you, "In the last time there will be mo kers, following after their own ungodly lusts!" 1" #hese are the ones who ause divisions, worldly$minded, devoid of the %pirit! &' But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the (oly %pirit, &1 keep yourselves in the love of )od, waiting an*iously for the mer y of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life! && +nd have mer y on some, who are doubting, &- save others, snat hing them out of the fire, and on some have mer y with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh! &. /ow to (im who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presen e of (is glory blameless with great 0oy, &1 to the only )od our %avior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, ma0esty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever! +men! Why Pray in the Spirit? #he fo us last week and this week is on the phrase in verse &', "2raying in the (oly %pirit!" Last week we answered the why 3uestion4 5hy pray in the (oly %pirit6 5e got the answer from the relationship between the parti iple "praying" and the main verb whi h follows it 7verse &1a8, "9eep yourselves in the love of )od!" "2raying in the (oly %pirit, keep yourselves in the love of )od!" In other words, one essential way to keep yourself in the love of )od is to pray in the %pirit! By praying in the (oly %pirit, keep yourselves in the love of )od! 5e alled prayer a "means of divine gra e!" 5hy did we use that term6 Be ause keeping ourselves in the love of )od is not something we an do on our own! )od is the de isive keeper of our souls! If )od doesn:t keep us, we will not persevere in faith, we will perish! 5e saw that in verse 1 and verse &.! ;erse 1b4 "#o those who are the alled, beloved in )od the <ather, and kept for Jesus Christ!" /oti e the passive verb4 5e are "kept," not "we keep!" 5e are kept by someone else, not by ourselves! By whom6 5e saw the answer in verse &.4 "/ow to (im who is able to keep you from stumbling ! ! !" 5ho is able to do that for us6 #he answer is in the ne*t verse 7verse &184 "! ! ! to the only )od our %avior, through Jesus Christ our Lord!" %o )od the <ather is our ultimate keeper through Jesus Christ! 5hi h means that our task of keeping ourselves is dependent on )od:s de isive keeping! #hat is why prayer is mentioned as a ru ial way of keeping ourselves in the love of )od! )od is the de isive keeper! (ow then do we keep ourselves, if )od is the de isive keeper6 +nswer4 we ask )od to keep us! #hat is, we pray! 2raying is the "means of

but the %pirit (imself inter edes for us with groanings too deep for words!" (ere it is plain that one thing the . that your faith may not fail. when on e you have turned again. and you. "But I have prayed for you. "But keep on the alert at all times. 5hat6 +nd (ow6 What is "praying in the (oly %pirit"6 +nd. "5ith all prayer and petition pray at all times in the %pirit!" #he reason this is important is that it shows that "praying in the %pirit" is not a spe ial form of prayer D like speaking in tongues! 5e an tell this is so be ause 2aul says in Cphesians >418 that we should pray "at all times" in the %pirit! In other words. where 2aul says. 5hy6 But. the %pirit of )od is "guiding" how you pray and what you pray for! %o. don:t let my faith fail. for we do not know how to pray as we should. so we are dependent keepers! +nd we show our dependen e mainly by praying for him to do his de isive work! 5e saw an e*ample this kind of praying in Luke &14->! Jesus says. Jesus says.gra e" that )od uses to keep us in his love! )od is the de isive keeper and he uses means to keep us! =ne of the means he uses is our prayers. all prayer should be "in the %pirit!" 2raying in the (oly %pirit is not one form among several! It is the way all prayer is to be offered! #he se ond thing to see is the parallel in Eomans 84&> where 2aul says. keep me! 2rayer is the means of gra e that )od uses to keep us se ure and ause us to persevere to the end in faith! /ow today the 3uestion is not. How do we pray in the %pirit6 What Is "Praying in the Spirit?" #he best brief statement I have found of what it means to pray in the (oly %pirit goes like this4 It means "so to pray that the (oly %pirit is the moving and guiding power!" #he key words there are "moving" and "guiding!" In other words. to pray in the (oly %pirit is to be moved and guided by the (oly %pirit in prayer! 5e pray by his power and a ording to his dire tion! The Power of the Spirit Let:s see where this interpretation of praying in the (oly %pirit omes from in the Bible! #he first thing to noti e is the very lose parallel passage in Cphesians >418. strengthen your brothers!"#his is the way we should pray for ourselves and ea h other! It is )od the <ather who de isively keeps. the %pirit of )od is "moving" you to pray! #hat is. "#he %pirit also helps our weakness. "2ray that you may be able ! ! ! to stand before the %on of ?an." when he omes! +nother e*ample of praying for )od to keep us omes from Jesus: e*ample of how he prayed for 2eter in Luke &&4-&! +fter saying that 2eter would deny him three times. but we have a dependent role to play4 5e pray! +nd we pray like Jesus4 = <ather. Jesus says. and to stand before the %on of ?an!" @o you want to be kept from the destru tive effe ts of the last days6 Aes6 5ell. praying that you may have strength to es ape all these things that are about to take pla e. when you pray in the (oly %pirit. he is the one who motivates and enables and energiBes your prayer! +nd when you pray in the (oly %pirit.

#he %pirit moves our prayers. but also "guided" by the %pirit! #his is no surprise. but they are not a ording to )od:s will! If the %pirit is moving us to pray. "5hen you ask.says. "5alk by the %pirit!" Eomans 841-. "%ay Jesus is Lord by the %pirit!" 2hilippians -4-. :+bbaF <atherF: #he %pirit (imself testifies with our spirit that we are hildren of )od!" #he point here is that the %pirit of )od helps us have assuran e that we are hildren of )od by ausing us to ry out from the heart 7to prayF8. "+bba. enables and energiBes our prayers! #hat:s a key part of what "praying in the (oly %pirit" means! The Guidance of the Spirit #he other part of what it means to pray in the (oly %pirit is that when we do so. be ause if the (oly %pirit is prompting and enabling and energiBing our prayers. or onfess the Lordship of Jesus 71 Corinthians 1&4-8. <ather!" In other words. it would natural to think that he does so in a way that a ords with his nature and his 5ord! 5e would not want to say. or worship 72hilippians -4-8. that you may spend what you get on your pleasures!" #hat would not be praying "in the (oly %pirit!" #hat would be praying "in the flesh" or in your own sinful nature! How Do I Pray in the Ho y Spirit? %o now the 3uestion is the pra ti al one4 How do you pray in the (oly %pirit6 @on:t fail to see how utterly unusual it is to be told to do something by the power and guidan e of another! It is )od telling me to do it D prayF +nd yet telling me that it is a work of the (oly %pirit when I do it! It is 0ust like other things in the Christian life4 )alatians 141>. "Aou have re eived a spirit of adoption as sons by whi h we ry out. then he would move us a ording to his will and 5ord! %o praying in the (oly %pirit would mean not only e*perien ing the power of the %pirit to help us pray when we are weak. our prayers are not only "moved" by the %pirit. James . or pray 7Jude 14&'8. or fight sin 7Eomans 841>8. sin e )od is sovereign and we are responsible! 5e a t! 5e are responsible to a t! But )od is the de isive a tor! =ur a tion is dependent! %o when we are told to "walk" 7)alatians 141>8. but also e*perien ing the guidance of the %pirit to help us when we are foolish or onfused or selfish! <or e*ample. "2ut to death the deeds of the body by the %pirit!" 1 Corinthians 1&4-. "5orship by the %pirit!" In all these things we are supposed to do something! But we are to do them in a way that it is the %pirit who is doing them through us! #his is the way human life is. we are told to do it "in the (oly %pirit!"You do it so that it is the (oly %pirit who is doing it in and through you! .(oly %pirit does for us is help our weakness when we need to pray but an:t the way we should! %o it is natural to take "praying in the (oly %pirit" to mean praying with the help of the (oly %pirit D with the strength and enablement of the %pirit to make up for our weakness! + third parallel would be Eomans 8411$1> where 2aul says.4. you do not re eive. the %pirit moves our prayers! (e motivates. be ause you ask with wrong motives.

when you admit that without the help of the %pirit you annot pray as you ought. )alatians -41$1. then you are praying "in the (oly %pirit!" %o the first answer to the 3uestion. our role is to take what we know about the %pirit:s will from the 5ord and saturate our prayers with it! &eep "ourse !es in the Lo!e of God . but to be guided by the %pirit in prayer! +nd sin e this is something we are alled to do 7"pray in the (oly %pirit"8. and then you ons iously depend on the %pirit to help you pray. that is. by not putting any onfiden e in what we an do in our own nature. is by faith D by trusting )od to give you the (oly %pirit to help you pray! Aou an see this from the /ew #estament in several ways 7see. instead we put onfiden e in the %pirit. for e*ample. ons iously look away from yourself to Christ and to the mer y of )od in Christ. at that moment do not assume that you an:t pray! Instead. meditating on it day and night by reading it every day and memoriBing portions to arry with you all day and savoring them hour by hour. and trust him to help you D even if it is only to produ e groanings too deep for words 7Eomans 84&>8! Learn to distrust yourself and to trust )od in prayer! Learn that without him you an do nothing and ast yourself on him at all times for all you need in order to pray! Let "our Prayers #e Shaped $y God%s Word #he other answer to the 3uestion of how to pray "in the (oly %pirit" is to bring all your praying into onformity to the 5ord of )od whi h the %pirit inspired 7& 2eter 14&1.it says. in )od:s blood$bought mer y to help us worship as we ought by his %pirit! %o I take it that the way to "pray in the (oly %pirit" is the same as the way to worship "in the %pirit of )od." namely. "5e worship in the %pirit of )od and glory in Christ Jesus and put no onfiden e in the flesh!" (ere. & #imothy -41>$1G8! Eight here is where )od:s all to be in the 5ord every day and his all to pray at all times in the %pirit be ome intertwined! If you live in the 5ord of )od. worshipping "in the %pirit of )od" is e*plained by "put no onfiden e in the flesh!" I think that means.%o how do I pray so that it is really the (oly %pirit prompting and guiding the prayer6 Trusting God to Gi!e His Spirit I think there are two basi answers! #he first is faith! 5e pray "in the (oly %pirit" when we take our stand on the ross of Christ 7whi h pur hased all divine help8 and trust )od for his help by the %pirit! In other words. & #hessalonians &41-8! =ne is that in 2hilippians -4. (ow6. then your prayers will be shaped by the 5ord! 5hi h means they will be shaped by the %pirit! +nd that is what it means to pray "in the (oly %pirit!" /ot only to be moved by the %pirit in prayer. but instead looking away from our own resour es and trusting in the mer y of )od to help us pray by his %pirit! #hat is what we should do this year in all our praying! #rust )od for the help we need to pray! 5hen you are too weak or too onfused or too depressed or too angry or too dull to pray.

re all what Jesus said to the rowds in ?atthew "4-8.%o that is my pastoral appeal to you this year4 9eep yourselves in the love of )od by praying in the (oly %pirit! #hat is. et !. the pla e where they had gathered together was shaken. and look away ontinually from your own resour es to the infinite and mer iful resour es of )od in Christ! I lose with some on rete e*amples of praying in a Bible$saturated way D whi h is a key to praying in the (oly %pirit! 5hen you ponder praying for H&!G million more in pledges for Cdu ation for C*ultation. and how to stru ture for pastoral are and building and hur h planting and missions. where the people give lavishly to build the temple and @avid prays. Lord. my heart:s desire and my prayer to )od for them is for their salvation!" #o be in the 5ord rightly is to be in prayer! +nd when faith and the 5ord shape prayer. we keep ourselves in the love of )od! +nd there every blessing in heaven will be ours! = learn to pray in the 5ord D for the sake of your soul and for the sake of the nations! . re all te*ts like 1 Chroni les &"418. and how it all fits together to meet so many hundreds and thousands of needs.. re all Eomans 1'41 where 2aul set his sights on his own Jewish kinsmen and said. we are praying in the (oly %pirit! +nd when we pray in the (oly %pirit. or ri hes or revenge on his enemies 7-4118. re all what %olomon prayed when the Lord said to him in 1 Chroni les -41. "+nd now. "+ll things ome from Aou. and dire t their heart to Aou!" #hen pray about the intentions of the hearts of people and all on )od to shape them and in line them toward generosity! +nd say with @avid in verse 1.4&"$-18! +nd when you love someone and ponder praying for his or her onversion. pray ontinually by banking on the %pirit:s help and by living in the %pirit:s word in the Bible! %tay in the Bible and stay in prayer. re all the way the hur h prayed in + ts . and from Aour hand we have given Aou!" 5hen you ponder praying about the future of our hur h in &''1 and how to respond to growth.4&" and what happened. and they were all filled with the (oly %pirit and began to speak the word of )od with boldness" 7. "Besee h the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into (is harvest!" 2ray with warrant from Christ himself that the right workers would be positioned in his kingdom! 5hen you ponder praying for boldness for yourself and others in evangelism. "+sk what you wish me to give you!" %olomon did not ask for long life. "= Lord ! ! ! preserve this forever in the intentions of the heart of Aour people. and grant that Aour bond$servants may speak Aour word with all onfiden e! ! ! ! +nd when they had prayed. take note of their threats. "Brethren. but asked for "an understanding heart to 0udge Aour people to dis ern between good and evil" 7-4"8! 5hen you ponder praying about the staff additions that are to ome this year at Bethlehem.

vol. Meyer's ritical and !"egetical Hand#ook to the $eneral !pistles of %ames. and no one an say. translator. so that the % ripture would be fulfilled! But now I ome to Aou. original. su h is the laBiness. 188-8. that none an su eed in praying as he ought without prompting of the %pirit of )od! 5e are so in lined to lose heart. as 2aul writes 7Eomans 84&>8! Jude does well indeed to say that no one an pray as he ought to pray. he should do it with the strength )od provides. and %ude. translator 2aton J! )loag 75inona Lake. and these things I speak in the world so that they may have ?y 0oy made full in themselves! I have given them Aour word. &eter. Jesus prays in John 1G411$11 that the <ather would keep us! "I am no longer in the world. +! 5! ?orrison I)rand Eapids4 5illiam B! Cerdmans 2ublishing Co!. p! >"G. even as I am not of the world! I do not ask Aou to take them out of the world. su h the oldness of our makeup. Mark and (uke. Indiana4 +lpha 2ubli ations. 1"G&J. so that in all things )od may be praised through Jesus Christ! #o him be the glory and the power for ever and ever! +men!" . for efulness. unless the %pirit dire t him!" 7John Calvin. eagerness. "If anyone serves.411. be ause they are not of the world. pp! --." Johannes C! (uther.: e* ept by the (oly %pirit" 71 Corinthians 1&4-8! %imilarly 1 2eter . ardor.: as if to say. itali s added! %ee also John Calvin:s e* ellent omment on Jude &'4 "#his order of perseveran e depends on our being e3uipped with the mighty power of )od! 5henever we need onstan y in our faith. I was keeping them in Aour name whi h Aou have given ?e. 1"8'. and finally those groanings whi h annot be uttered. ' Harmony all of the $ospels Matthew. and yet they themselves are in the world. :Jesus is a ursed:. the name whi h Aou have given ?e. and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition. we must have re ourse to prayer. but to keep them from the evil one. keep them in Aour name. that they may be one even as 5e are! 5hile I was with them. :Jesus is Lord. we re eive the gift of real on ern. ) and the !pistles of %ames and %ude.%imilarly.: unless the same %pirit puts the 5ord into us! <rom the %pirit. and as our prayers are often perfun tory. he adds. :in the %pirit. and I ome to Aou! (oly <ather. %ohn.$--18! %ee also the enabling role of the %pirit in our onfessing Jesus as in arnate Lord4 "#herefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the %pirit of )od says. and the world has hated them. and be diffident that none dares to all )od :<ather. onfiden e that we shall re eive D all these.